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6 unique summer traditions in Germany

Germans love to spend time outside in the summer. While many Germans enjoy traveling abroad, others choose to explore their own country. From beaches in the north to picturesque mountains in the south, Germany has it all! If you want to act like a local, this is how you can spend your time when the temperatures begin to soar.

Head to an Eiscafe… and order a Spaghettieis!

If you’ve ever been to Germany in the summertime, you might have noticed the many different Eisdiele (ice cream parlos) or Eiscafes. Germans love to get together over a refreshing bowl of ice cream when it’s hot outside. In fact, there are over 3,300 ice cream shops in Germany! While gelato might hit the spot, a more unique option is a cool bowl of Spaghettieis – a German style of ice cream that literally looks like a bowl of spaghetti. We promise you, it still tastes like ice cream!

©dpa / picture alliance

Beat the heat and go Wasserwandern

Wasserwandern translates to “water hiking”. This means leaving behind solid ground to go explore Germany’s many waterways by canoe or kayak. Wasserwandern is particularly popular in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which is known as the “land of a thousand lakes”. Formed tens of thousands of years ago during the Ice Age, these lakes are home to a number of endangered species and make the perfect summertime getaway for nature enthusiasts. So pack a waterproof bag and explore Germany’s many rivers and lakes on boat!

©dpa / picture alliance

Cool off in the Freibad… or a Flussschwimmbad

Spending the summers on a Liegewiese (a field to lounge on) is part of the German culture. And there’s no better place to find these than at a Freibad (“outdoor swimming pool”) or the banks of a Flussschwimmbad (“river swimming pool”). Aside from lounging areas, many outdoor swimming areas also have a snack bar or a place to buy ice cream. Because as we already know, Germans love their ice cream in the summertime.

Outdoor pools are a great way to bring families out into nature, especially if the “pool” is a sectioned off area of a river. Germans love to swim in lakes, rivers and pools that bring them closer to the elements. In fact, the Kainzenbad pool in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria is filled with water streaming down from the Alps mountains. It can’t get any more natural than that!

©dpa / picture alliance

Have a drink at a Strandbar

Stuck in a big city? Have no fear – even German cities have a summertime escape for you! Germans who live in big cities often visit a Strandbar (“beach bar”) in the summer. These are basically man-made beaches in the middle of the city with a bar or restaurant to order from. So head over to a Strandbar, kick back and pretend you’re at a real beach. That ice cold piña colada should help with your imagination.

©dpa / picture alliance

Go Wattwandern (“mudflat hiking”) in the Baltic mudflats

If you find yourself in northern Germany, head out to the mudflats during low tide and go Wattwandern (“mudflat hiking”). This odd German activity, which is also practiced by the Danish and the Dutch, entails walking and wading on the watershed of the mudflats. But dress appropriately – it can get muddy out there!

©dpa / picture alliance

Take it all off at an FKK beach

It’s no secret that Germany has plenty of nude beaches. The Freikörperkultur (FKK – “Free Body Culture”) endorses a naturalistic approach to sports and community living. While there are plenty of FKK beaches along Germany’s many rivers and lakes, the best ones are off the northern German coast along the Baltic Sea.  You can leave the swimsuit behind.

©dpa / picture alliance

So which of these German summer traditions have you participated in yourself? Let us know in the comments!

By Nicole Glass, German Embassy

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